Having recently released music with both Nafla and Joe Rhee, Owen Ovadoz has generated renewed excitement around 90’s old-school boom bap and his own personal upcoming projects. After he returned from a successful performance in LA, I invited him to talk about his thoughts on hiphop’s development and the promising projects he has planned for anticipating fans in an exclusive interview with HiphopKR.
It’s exciting to have you share with us today. Thanks for taking some time out, fam.
My pleasure. I ain’t got all the answers, but […] for them fans out there, if this interview can encourage a lot of people and motivate them, that’s all I ever [would have] wanted.
Some of your fans sent in some interesting questions through Twitter and Facebook that I thought would shed some light on what pushes you to make some of the great music that you put out.
@DaenamHyupp takes us back to how it started with the question, “[…] What got you into rapping?”
Fort Lee, New Jersey. You see, being able to live in the States where it [has all] the environment and the atmosphere of hip hop culture, gave me everything and made me who I am right now.
There have been some critics of the legitimacy of hiphop in Korea. Others have argued that hiphop, although having not originated in Korea, has been genuinely represented by local artists.
@crcial is curious to hear your thoughts on the topic and asks, “[…What is your] opinion on people saying Koreans are just copying blacks?”
Politics. *Laughs* This is exclusive property that belongs to black people. But at the same time, back in the days whether you were black, white or yellow, when and if you actually lived through it, then you’d know. [Hiphop as an art] is exclusively for the chosen ones because you need more talent and effort to make it happen for real.
It’s great to hear your opinion on some of the ideas and character found in hiphop.
@isk_91 asks, “Is there any special message that you want to share through your music with the rest of the world?”
Yeah. First of all, don’t be asking me about the rumors ’cause I’m not the one who said it officially. And please… please think big. Rumors ain’t ****. If I didn’t say so, trust no one […]. Oh, and if you don’t know about my music, and just be hollerin’ at it ’cause you saw me on TV, then **** you. Go check my Soundcloud. Show Me the Money got me streaming on the first episode just to raise ratings because they know that I’m good and talented too. My music represents me and remains ‘til the world collapse.
[Check out Owen’s Soundcloud below]
Hiphop artists have always had the challenge of dealing with critics outside of the hiphop industry as well as resistance within the community as well.
Rajaa Ma wants to know, “What is the most difficult thing you had to endure in the music industry?”[The fact] that there’s no such thing as music or art in Korea. That was the hardest thing ever. Korea… *Owen pauses* and before I say this let me make my status clear. I’m a proud Korean who went to the army properly, served our country for 2 years, and now am on my grind trying to make this rap thing happen, and also moving the culture at the same time. So I’m not alone. I got hip hop with me and whoever stands for what it is […]. There are no [creative] works of art in Korea. But we chill. We’re good at consulting, managing, and at commercializing strategies. Which is bad ’cause that’s how industries are killing the few pure artists that remain in Korea.
You recently released a great collaboration album with R&B artist Joe Rhee entitled OJ. It was interesting to see the chemistry you two had and the ability to blend your creative, old-school flow with his more contemporary R&B vocals.
Petey Mcflarty asks “How was it working with Joe Rhee? Any other Korean artists you want to collab with?”
Amazing. Joe knows what he’s doing and he’s a good person. It’s funny ’cause we made that album in a week. About the collabo, not much in mind right now except E-sens.
You have a unique sound in a time when hiphop is filled with a heavy use of bells and synths.
Sabriyya Wilson poses the question, “If [you] could go into any era of hiphop, which era would [you] go? Who would you pick to collaborate with in that era?”
Back to the 90s. I was born in 1991, and that’s exactly when and where I would wanna go. Collabo with my god, Big L.
It’s been interesting following the projects you’ve been doing with Debi who also shares a love for that classic hiphop sound. Could you share with us how you two originally got together and decided to make music?
The very first moment was through the TV show [Show Me the Money]. Back then, we barely talked to each other. Later on, when we both got dropped, we got back into the daily routines and started to talk about a collabo through a competition called Do The Right Rap by the hip hop community known as HiphopLE.
You mentioned before that you spent some time in the states. What kind of effect has that part of your life had on the way you approach your music?
Like I said earlier on the other question, the experience life gives matters the most. I came back to Korea in 2005, and ever since [then], those 10 years of absence made me confuse a lot between right or wrong [as far as] hip hop. I got some tight bars from an upcoming new track saying, “2005년 부터 여기까지 왔지. 10년의공백을 10개월만에 벤치마킹.” [Which translates as], “Came this far since 2005, 10 years of absence but I benchmarked my game in only 10 months. How you like me now?” As y’all can see, it effected everything in my life.
It was exciting to see you travel to LA to link up with Nafla and perform with him on stage. You two seem to have a great relationship. Could you tell us a little about your friendship and how that has impacted the projects you work on together?
Sorry. Witness the greatness ’cause it’s about to happen real soon. Can’t tell you more than that.
You’ve gotten alot of attention with the music you’ve put out and projects you’ve been working on recently. Are there any releases coming up soon that we can look forward to?
12 tracks real soon.
I’m looking forward to the songs we’ll get to hear with your next release. Appreciate the time you spent with us again, fam.
Thank you for inviting me to the interview. I’ve always wanted say some of my thoughts and you guys helped me out with that. Peace ’til the next time. One love!
Interviewer Chris Lyon is a hiphop producer currently working in South Korea. Originally finding an interest in Korean culture in high school, he began investing his time in learning the language as well as furthering his love for music production. He later decided to complete a portion of his education in South Korea and started building relationships with some of the hiphop artists in the area. He now enjoys doing what he can to help promote Korean hiphop culture through a variety of avenues while working on production at Starfield Entertainment.